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Coal
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Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:19 am

Airline: Vincent Aviation
Flight: BF 833
Equip: Beech 1900D
Sector: DRW (Darwin International) – GTE (Groote Eylandt)
Cabin: Economy
Seat: 3F
Dep (Act): 3:45pm (4:45pm)
Arr (Act): 5:25pm (6:15pm)

Background

I went to Australia to spend 5 days visiting some of the assets of my business division. I flew Air China to Melbourne, spent the weekend there with my fiancée, flew to Tasmania for our first visit, then on to Darwin via Sydney on our way to Groote Eylandt, one of the more remote places in the Top North. The domestic flights within Australia, mostly on QF, were pretty uneventful, but I will include one pic of the breakfast we had on QF J Class, which was delicious!

Our flight from SYD on QF had to circle for around 20 mins as there was a thunderstorm passing through Darwin and all movements had been stopped. When we landed, it took nearly 1 hour to get to the gate because ATC had to clear all departing flights before letting the arriving flights into the. Once we deplaned, it took another 30mins to get our luggage.

Pics


(The delicious breakfast on QF)


(Waiting on the apron after the storm)


(At the gate)

Check-In

After we collected our bags, we looked for the check in counters of Vincent Aviation at the main terminal. The only other airline servicing Groote Eylandt is Air North, and their check in counter was next to the Qantas one. We asked one of the check in agents where the counters for Vincent Aviation were, and we were told we needed to take a shuttle bus to their hangar.

It was still pouring down with rain, so we waited for the shuttle bus along with other people who had just arrived on several QF flights. We got on the bus and drove the 1.5kms to their hangar.

Vincent operates out of what is effectively a house next to a hangar in which they do maintenance. There is just one check in counter where they check your ID and weigh your checked in luggage as well as your carry on. I think the cut off for carry on was 5kg. The only check in agent was first checking in those going to Bootu Creek, another mine, and after that she checked in the four of us who where going to Groote Eylandt.

The boarding pass was a laminated card that indicated the seat and registration, and which was color-coded to the reg. of the aircraft.

Pics


(On the van on the way to the Vincent Aviation hangar)


(Vincent Aviation building)


(Vincent Aviation building)


(Check in area)


(Check in area)

Airside

There was no security check at Vincent, but we were told that once they opened the doors to the ramp, we would have to turn off our cellphones, because of the refuelling process. In the meantime, we waited around in the lounge, where they had instant coffee and a snack machine, as well as a TV, which unfortunately was tuned to infomercials of Zumba (google it).

All the flights were delayed by about an hour, as they had not been able to leave their airports of origin due to the closure of DRW because of the storm. Around 4pm, one of the B1900D’s came in and within 20mins it was boarding the pax to Bootu Creek. Our B1900D came in around the time the Bootu Creek flight taxied to the runway and again within 15 – 20mins we were boarding.

Pics


(Waiting lounge)


(Waiting lounge)

Boarding

The doors to the lounge were open and we were reminded to turn off our cellphones. I realized that the first officer on this flight, which was a good looking young lady I might add, was also acting as ramp agent and flight attendant. On boarding the aircraft, she opened a cooler next to the stairs and gave each one of us a bottle of water and a sandwich. Once the four of us were on board, she jumped in and closed the door.


(Our aircraft)


(Our aircraft)

Take-Off

After the first officer / flight attendant gave us the in flight safety spiel, she ducked into the cockpit and we were pulled out of the ramp by the tug. Engines were on and we taxied to the active. I noticed the windows on this aircraft had been tinted quite heavily, and I apologize if the pictures are not so clear because of this. Is this the case for all B1900’s?

Once we were on the active, we took off, towards the east I believe, and we got a nice view of the city of Darwin.

Pics


(Cockpit)


(Cockpit closeup)


(Taxiing to the active)


(Take off)

In Flight

The flight itself was quite bumpy, mainly because the storm was just moving away from the area. I certainly felt the turbulence much more than you would on a larger aircraft.

We levelled off at 23,000 feet, as I could clearly see most of the instruments in the cockpit. After about 30mins the flight got much smoother. It was a good thing I had my QC15’s with me because it was really loud in the cabin.

Pics


(Leaving Darwin)


(IFE and meal)


(Leaving the mainland)


(Cruising)

Landing

The flight lasted a total of 1hr and 30mins and around 6pm we started our descent onto the island. I noticed the descent on this aircraft was very steep, or maybe it just felt so because it is so small? It was really cool being able to see the runway in the distance and watching the crew perform the landing. It reminded me a lot of the two occasions in which I’ve flown a C172.

We landed on runway 10 and used up most of the runway. We then backtacked to the “terminal”, which is more like a shack with some benches and a small office that serves Vincent, Air North, and the other charter flights. We deplaned and within 10 mins we had our luggage.

Pics


(Descending)


(The mine in view)


(Seconds from touchdown)


(Taxiing to the “terminal”)


(Taxiing to the “terminal”)


(Terminal building)

Conclusion

Not much else to say about this short flight. I will add that I love how Australia doesn’t have a LAG policy for domestic flights and you can bring on board any amount of liquids. Vincent Aviation is a very professional small airline, and it seems they run a pretty profitable business, flying people in and out of all the mines in the Outback. It was quite nice to even get a sandwich on such a short flight!

Thanks for reading and as always, comments are appreciated!

Cheers
Coal
Nxt Flts: MI RGN-SIN | SQ SIN-RGN-SIN | CX SIN-HKG-PVG | SQ PVG-SIN
 
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eastafspot
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:36 am

Hi Coal,

Very nice TR indeed, the small airline/aircraft reports are my favourite. it is a charter or schedule airline?
you seemed to have a pleasant experience, despite the beginning.

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
I realized that the first officer on this flight, which was a good looking young lady I might add, was also acting as ramp agent and flight attendant

with the global crisis there is more and more multiskilled staff  

thanks for sharing

East African spotter
Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
 
NorthstarBoy
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Wed Nov 24, 2010 11:22 am

Nice report. In answer to your question, yes, to my recollection all the Beech 1900s have the tinted windows. Not sure why they do that, but that's been the case on every 1900 i've been on, which is only 5, so not really a scientific sample. Anyway, i enjoyed the report
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
 
lychemsa
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:47 pm

What is the island like? Any pictures? Thanks.
 
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Coal
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:26 am

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 1):
Very nice TR indeed, the small airline/aircraft reports are my favourite. it is a charter or schedule airline?
you seemed to have a pleasant experience, despite the beginning.

Yes, the flight was not too bad, but like I said, the Bose headphones helped.

They are a scheduled airline. They fly twice daily to Groote Eylandt, once or twice daily to Bootu Creek, and they also fly to a few other mining towns. A lot of the mining staff are on a Fifo basis (Fly in, fly out), so they don't live permanently at the mine sites.

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 2):
Nice report. In answer to your question, yes, to my recollection all the Beech 1900s have the tinted windows. Not sure why they do that, but that's been the case on every 1900 i've been on, which is only 5, so not really a scientific sample. Anyway, i enjoyed the report

It's a shame they tint the windows, as the view looked much better out of the front of the cockpit.

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 3):
What is the island like? Any pictures? Thanks.

There is NOTHING on the island. Basically there is the airport, the mine, the mine offices, the port, and some housing for those who are not on a Fifo basis (Fly in, fly out). It is a dry island, so you need a permit to bring in alcohol and drink it.

Cellphone reception is really bad, there is no internet at the accomodation or international calls. It is really just a mine site, that's all. But I do hear the fishing is good!

Cheers
Coal
Nxt Flts: MI RGN-SIN | SQ SIN-RGN-SIN | CX SIN-HKG-PVG | SQ PVG-SIN
 
EddieDude
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:52 am

Very cool TR Coal!   Thanks for taking the time to write it and upload the pics! It is always great to find reports about small, unknown carriers and remote destinations!

Can't wait to read your next report!
Next flights: MEX-LAX AM 738, LAX-PVG DL 77L, SHA-PEK CA 789, PEK-PVG CA A332, PVG-ORD MU 77W, ORD-MEX AM 738
 
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Coal
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:16 am

Quoting EddieDude (Reply 5):
It is always great to find reports about small, unknown carriers and remote destinations!

Thanks! Yes, this was pretty remote, considering the lack of connectivity the island has to the outside world.

Cheers
Coal
Nxt Flts: MI RGN-SIN | SQ SIN-RGN-SIN | CX SIN-HKG-PVG | SQ PVG-SIN
 
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:26 am

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
I noticed the windows on this aircraft had been tinted quite heavily, and I apologize if the pictures are not so clear because of this. Is this the case for all B1900’s?

Every 1900D I've seen and been on both here and at DEN have tinted windows

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
noticed the descent on this aircraft was very steep, or maybe it just felt so because it is so small

Yes the 1900D always has a steep descent, for someone who isn't use to it, it can feel a bit freaky!

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 1):
it is a charter or schedule airline?

Vincent Aviation also operates here in New Zealand. Vincent was founded by Mr Vincent in WLG in 1992 and has bases in WLG and DRW and operates here as a charter airline with a fleet of J31s, 1900Cs, 1900Ds, Dash 8-100 and will shortly add a Cessna corporate jet. Vincent also operates flights for NZ Link. Vincent also does Pacific work from its WLG base. Vincents Australian operations also include 1900D and a Cessna 441. Vincent was planning on adding 4x ex MacAir Saab 340Bs for its Auistralian ops and was considering replacing its Dash 8 with an ATR42
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Coal
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Thu Dec 02, 2010 12:44 am

Quoting 777ER (Reply 7):
Vincent Aviation also operates here in New Zealand. Vincent was founded by Mr Vincent in WLG in 1992 and has bases in WLG and DRW and operates here as a charter airline with a fleet of J31s, 1900Cs, 1900Ds, Dash 8-100 and will shortly add a Cessna corporate jet. Vincent also operates flights for NZ Link. Vincent also does Pacific work from its WLG base. Vincents Australian operations also include 1900D and a Cessna 441. Vincent was planning on adding 4x ex MacAir Saab 340Bs for its Auistralian ops and was considering replacing its Dash 8 with an ATR42

It seems the service in Australia is scheduled and charter. Are the services in New Zealand charter only or scheduled as well? Might consider them for my trip to NZ.

Cheers
Coal
Nxt Flts: MI RGN-SIN | SQ SIN-RGN-SIN | CX SIN-HKG-PVG | SQ PVG-SIN
 
BZNPilot
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Thu Dec 02, 2010 2:26 pm

Hi Coal,

Great report about an interesting little airline I had never heard of before. Thanks for posting. I love the tiny winglets on that 1900D.

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
It was really cool being able to see the runway in the distance and watching the crew perform the landing.

Definitely a neat experience...one of the benefits of flying in a small aircraft like this!

Impressive that they actually gave you a sandwich on that flight. And the breakfast on QF looked really good.

Cheers,
BZNPilot
 
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Coal
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:36 am

Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 9):
Hi Coal,

Great report about an interesting little airline I had never heard of before. Thanks for posting. I love the tiny winglets on that 1900D.

Thanks!

Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 9):
Definitely a neat experience...one of the benefits of flying in a small aircraft like this!

Impressive that they actually gave you a sandwich on that flight. And the breakfast on QF looked really good.

Yeah, I was surprised they also gave us food and drink. Then again, I think the round trip fare was over AUD500.

Cheers
Coal
Nxt Flts: MI RGN-SIN | SQ SIN-RGN-SIN | CX SIN-HKG-PVG | SQ PVG-SIN
 
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:32 am

Quoting Coal (Reply 8):
Are the services in New Zealand charter only or scheduled as well? Might consider them for my trip to NZ.

Vincent in New Zealand are only charter but their aircraft are used on Air New Zealand Link services, so to experience their aircraft here, you would need to find one of their aircraft on NZs schedules
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Coal
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:46 am

Quoting 777ER (Reply 11):
Air New Zealand Link services,

Just the B1900s, right? Or do they also fly the bigger props?

Cheers
Coal
Nxt Flts: MI RGN-SIN | SQ SIN-RGN-SIN | CX SIN-HKG-PVG | SQ PVG-SIN
 
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falstaff
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:24 pm

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
we were told we needed to take a shuttle bus to their hangar.

That is when you know you will have a good time.

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
I could clearly see most of the instruments in the cockpit

This sure does sound like my MCI-SLN report: SeaPort Airlines MCI-SLN 7/29-8/1 (by falstaff Aug 2 2011 in Trip Reports)

Quoting Coal (Thread starter):
It was quite nice to even get a sandwich on such a short flight!

What luxury! I feel lucky if I get a cookie.....

Nice trip report, I enjoyed reading it.
My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
 
MSS658
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:33 pm

Nice report, always fun to see a report like this one over here.
Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
 
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Coal
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RE: Vincent Aviation: DRW - GTE NOV/10 Y Class

Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:34 pm

Quoting falstaff (Reply 13):
What luxury! I feel lucky if I get a cookie.....

Nice trip report, I enjoyed reading it.

  
I guess in the end it is not a huge cost but it keeps pax happy.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 14):
Nice report, always fun to see a report like this one over here.

Thanks!

Cheers
Coal
Nxt Flts: MI RGN-SIN | SQ SIN-RGN-SIN | CX SIN-HKG-PVG | SQ PVG-SIN

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